no end in sight

You would think that watching, loving and knowing someone decline right before your eyes with dementia would get easier. For me it does not, it sucks.  It sucks that I cannot help any more than I am.   I know that I cannot take care of Dorothy, she is just like a toddler- into everything and remembers nothing.  That’s not true, she knows me and Paul and Jessica and the boys.  She thinks her sister, granny and grandpa are still alive. But she does not know what just happened, where she is or how she got there.   It never ends.   Never.  

I am so happy that Covid shutdown is over, and I can go see her and take her outside or out for a drive.   I am so happy that I am able to do her laundry again.  I have even gotten to the point of giving her a shower and washing her hair once a week when I am there- just to know it is being done.   They are scheduled to do the same two other days a week, but I can’t be sure, I’m not there. 

It is sad how “dirty “everyone is.  It’s not like they are dirty-dirty, they are just dirty, everyday life makes you dirty, even if you don’t do anything- and a shower twice a week just doesn’t seem right to me.   But that is the way it is in memory care, I understand, there are just not enough workers to do the job.   And there is no additional money available on our end- so we get what we pay for.   If we could afford 5K a month, I ‘m sure she could get a shower every other day.  Along with more activities and more entertainment more “life”.

Don’t get me wrong- mom is in a good place- I know this- much better than where she was and much better than living with me. I could not take care of her 24/7- I’m not trained, nor do I have the ability -mentally to do it.   At least when you put a toddler down for the night you know they are going to sleep at least 10 hours without waking up in the middle of the night confused and wondering where they are.  And toddlers can pretty much tell you what they want and need. 

I am thankful and I count my blessings. I am thankful that mom is in a good place and I am able to go see her. I am blessed that she is still here with us and she knows who I am.   

I have a girlfriend whose mom is in memory care and her mom is at the stage where she does not remember her anymore.  She knows she has a daughter, but she does not know who she is or even her name. My friend is a very strong woman, and I am learning from her on this next step -that I know mom will be in sooner or later.  My friend goes to see her mom, feeds her and sits and talks to her like a friend- because that is who her mom thinks she is – a friend.   That’s all she can do and she’s doing it.    I love her!

I am also doing what I can do, and I am sure that anyone reading this blog is doing the same thing, what they can do.    I can listen, agree, laugh, love, give hugs and answer the same questions over and over and over again.

You’ve got a friend, James Taylor

Love and Light,

Cheryl Doreen

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day 2021 was a good day.   Mom got to get out and come over to my house, and spend the day with the family.  The weather was perfect and the food delish- first grill out of the season. Yay!

Jessica and the boys were over, so Dorothy was on her best behavior. It’s funny how she doesn’t complain or fuss when Jessica is around.  (-:   I guess we all have that person who we want to continue to be strong for.

It was a good day- even if mom had no idea where she was and kept asking where she was- and was confused on who the boys were – we took turns answering her questions and asking her some to try to redirect her mind- even if she was saying the same thing over and over again like-listening your favorite song- it was good to have her with us. When it came time for mom to leave- she was here almost 6 hours- I realized that we did not take any photos.  So, I got everyone in one spot to take a few- mom was not happy about it and did not want her photo taken, she did stand still for them, but you can tell in the photo that she did not want to have anything to do with smiling.  So- mental note for me-next time get the photos done first thing- this way everyone is smiling and excited to be together. 

This could be the last mothers day with mom- or it could not be- we just never know.  I do know that it will be a good memory for me for the rest of my life.

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Hello

Hello, Old Friend – really good to see you once again!  

Eric Clapton –“Hello Old Friend” (no reason to cry album).   

Dorothy is good!  She’s still a bright light shining for everyone around her. She has a happy smile, and positive energy surrounding her- they enjoy her where she is.  (-:  The Assisted Livings have opened back up for all who what to go inside and see their loved ones.  I’ve been every week- for the past month (-:  and It is really good to see mom again on a weekly basis.    (-:  ❤    

I go, and we sit outside and visit- we change her bedding and I go on a hunt to find her dirty clothes.  (-:   She says she doesn’t understand how the dirty ones get back in the drawer.   She moves what little decorations and personal treasures around and sometimes I find them in the drawers hidden under clothes.  I’m assuming she is packing to go home and other times she is hiding them, so no one takes them.   

I usually put them back out where they were before she “hid” them – always, without saying anything .  Sometimes I will take the framed photos of current pictures home with me- because I wonder if she does not know in the moment who they are- and sometimes she does not when I ask her- and this is why they are in the drawer.  I do know that her granny, pappy and sister’s photos dating back to the 1940’s are always out.  And she shows them to me every time I go. 

Last week when I visited, we were able to bring three of her friends outside with us Walter, Jim and Rosa. We all sat at a table in a circle. All I had to do was ask a few questions to Walter and Jim to see what they had to say or wanted to share.   Walter is as you know the police officer from up north-he never seems to have much to say- he’s very soft spoken, kind, bright eyed man- probably mid 50’s.   Jim, I found out was a boxer back in the 80s and 90s – when he told me his name and talked about his past-he had a sparkle in his eye.  He was happy to tell someone his story- and I was happy to hear it. I made sure to look him up on the world wide web.  Sure enough! – he was everything he said he was.   Now- mind you Rosa and Dorothy did not need to be asked any questions- they asked them.  As soon as the boys were quiet for a moment they both would start in-  LOL   They both wanted to know when they could go home, how much longer they would be there and why they were there.   

This was very interesting to me- the men seemed content to be there and just be- and the women were the ones seeking a way out.  (-:

It’s been good to get back to see mom on a somewhat -regular schedule- to spend some time with her and just sit and listen to her.   Even if it’s the same old record- at least it’s her voice.   I am looking forward to taking her up to the lake- a 10-minute drive from where she is- as soon as we are allowed.  (-: I look forward to sitting with her outside, with no fences or buildings in site.

It is still tough- tough to watch the strong, independent, all knowing, all loving woman that she has been to me my entire life be so lost and confused.   

All I can do is what I can do- so, I do it.   I go, I talk, I hug, I love, I ask questions, I agree even when I know what she’s saying is wrong- it doesn’t matter-  I just be there for her.

Love and Light!

Cheryl Doreen

Doctors Appointment

Moms outing on Monday was really good.  Even though it was cloudy and grey -she was very happy to get outside.  We went to Mexican for lunch and sat for almost 2 hours eating and visiting.  She wanted desert and I let her decide- she picked apple turnovers with ice cream- can’t remember what they are called at a Mexican Restaurant.  I cannot do cinnamon or ice cream, so I did not have any.   When the waiter brought it out, I couldn’t believe how huge it was!  It was big enough for a family of four- to share.   Her eyes were as wide as my grandsons when we get desert at a restaurant.  She acted just like the two of them , she couldn’t get enough of it.   I literally had to take the plate away after she ate two turnovers and two scoops of ice cream. 

 I know they do not give them much sugar where she is- and I did not want her getting sick.   She actually begged me to let her have more LOLOL   all I could do was laugh.  

 She was in good spirits the entire day and I kept her mind occupied with questions, so- she did not dwell on the “when can I go home” questions.     When she did ask about “when can I go home “?  I answered it like always- explaining to her why and also asking her a few questions of where we were and what we just did.  She of course- couldn’t answer them.  So, I said “mom, this is why you are in memory care, you can’t remember what just happened a few moments ago”.  She actually laughed and replied “ Cheryl, I can’t remember anything”.  At this point I asked her ”mom, what is on your brain right  now, what is the first thing that comes to your mind, or a memory of yours you can share”  – she looked at me strangely and replied “ I don’t have any memories and I don’t have anything in my brain.”   Sigh! 

So, I asked her what she did when she was 10- she told me a few stories that I had heard before and a new one that I hadn’t heard.  She went on to tell me there was a family member, a man- who would come over with his wife and crippled son. She said that he would pretend to “play around” with Delores and I -but, what he was actually doing was feeling our breasts.   I was shocked!   I asked her how many times this happened and if she ever told anyone about it.  She said that it happened about 6 times- then she would never get close to him after that- she said that she couldn’t tell anyone, because they wouldn’t believe her- he was such an outstanding man and a very good husband and father.   It made me stop and think how many times this still happens today to both boys and girls and the fact that they are afraid to speak out for the same reason. 

The doctor’s appointment was great- her feet are good, as is the circulation- the doctor trimmed her toenails- which haven’t’ been cut since November- when I did them- for some reason due to covid they do not cut them at the home anymore.   Another one of those “Help me understand why”.    

I pray the covid will leave this month- as quick as it came last year at this time and we can all get back to what “normal” was for everyone.  I know it will not be the same as it was- but hopefully the elderly, children and abused humans will be able to get out, feel more loved and possibly get out of the situation they’ve been tied into for the last 12 months and maybe brave enough to say something to someone.  I just hope whoever they tell takes it for fact and helps them.

Love, Light, Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Sunny Day (:

I was lucky enough to get a visit mom – no code reds for Covid- this past Tuesday.  It was a beautiful day – 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  She came out with a nurse- who stayed close by the entire time, I’m assuming to make sure we do not hug, or take our masks off.  

Her eyes were lit up and she stared right in telling me about her latest adventure. It went something like this; I am not quite sure how it happened it did not start out as an adventure, two people met one another and in the grocery store- we started talking about the food and blah, blah, blah and he said do you want to go out to dinner tonight?,  And I said yes, I love to-then I won’t have to cook.  She laughs at her joke-  she kept talking about how he was a mommy’s boy and he was taking care of her.  He said he had a job but, he never went to work.  He was very clean, had very nice manners and very good looking.  And we went out a few times, and I think he and his mother was looking for someone for him to marry because she was getting older.  And he would need someone to take care of him.   She went on with this story for about 20 minutes- I just sat and listened.   I was trying to figure out if this is one of her memories a time in her life, or – if she read it in a book, saw it on TV or just made it up.   I’ll never know.

The day was a good day, she was bright eyed,  focused on her story and was very happy.  She didn’t spend too much time worrying about what, why and when – of what happened to her as to why she is in “this place”.  It was a wonderful visit. 

I have figured out the game, and I have set up a doctor’s appointment for Monday, so I can get her out of the facility.  I cannot go get her and take her out just for fun or just to spend time with her, but I can go get her and take her to the doctor and it’s okay.   Sigh!!!!!!

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Love & Light!

Cheryl Doreen

Happy Birthday !

Happy Birthday Dorothy!

  Last year at this time, Paul, Jessica & family and I took mom to and Italian Restaurant for lunch- It was a great day!  The manager on duty was so kind to her and made her feel so special. Afterwards we went to the pet store and where Cade & Cannon picked out some Beta fish- Mom totally enjoyed looking at all the animals in the store.  

This year it will be very different -she gets a Unicorn Birthday Party -with her friends in Memory Care.  The family will not be in attendance   )-:   as we are still not allowed to go in and visitation is still limited for certain days and certain hours. So, I did what I could, I called the director and asked her if it I purchased the party- if they would throw it.  She seemed to be excited about the idea and said they would celebrate at lunch.       

  This morning I took over a big bouquet of flowers, plenty of cupcakes, unicorn plates and napkins (which Cade & Cannon picked out) along with some children birthday noisemaker horns- I hope they let them blow them (-:

I also took over some cards- for her to open.  Hopefully she will have a very special, Happy Birthday.   I have an appointment to see her tomorrow so, I ‘ll continue the party with a present or two. (-:    

I just called to double check on my appointment to make sure they were not on lock down- and I’m still cleared to go. I was told during this phone call that they would not give mom the flowers- I brought-  they are not allowed to have any flowers in memory care- unless they are edible flowers- Oh my gosh!   I asked why?  And was told that the residents (or at least one resident somewhere) think they are candy and they eat them- so, they are not allowed.   So sad!   

So, I will pick them up tomorrow when I’m there to visit mom- and I will enjoy them myself for a few days. (-0:

Happy 84th Birthday mom, I’ll see you tomorrow.

Love & Light,

Cheryl Doreen

Waiting………

Dorothy called Paul- which means she has found a phone, and someone has given her – her son’s phone number.  He did not know the number that was calling in so- he did not answer it, she left a voicemail, and it was the same voice mail she used to use “Paul, I don’t know where I am or why you put me here, but-you need to come after work and take me back to my house.  I don’t know who you think you are – but you are not in charge of me”.  She hung up without are goodbye.   So, she is still doing the same routine.  And I hate that for her.  I hate that I can’t be there for her.  I hate that she has to suffer like this-not knowing what the heck is going on.  I hate it that she can’t remember- I hate it for everyone and all the loved ones that had to experience this and who are currently going through it and those about to embark on this journey.  Hugs to all!

Hopefully this winter will end soon- 5 more weeks- 35 more days (-:  and the pandemic will subside, and I will be able to go see, take and do whatever again with mom.  We will see.   Until then, I will make a few doctors’ appointments and get her out as much as I can.

Ottis Redding- Sitting on the Dock of they Bay – (-:

Love & Light!

Cheryl Doreen

New Doctor! (-:

Mom has a new Doctor- and he’s wonderful- actually the entire office is wonderful.  He did a zoom with mom- and the nurse and then he called me, and we spoke for 30 minutes.   I had previously sent over all her medical history and a dossier of what mom likes and dislikes, how she reacts and so forth.  We talked about all this stuff and he asked a ton more questions.

I told him that mom was a nurse for the folks she has turned into and before she got so bad, she told my brother and me what to expect, what to do, what not to do etc.  The directives she had legally drawn up and no desire to keep her alive, her living will and her verbal wishes.  He gets it -all of it- and I’m very comfortable and assured that mom has the best doctor for the rest of her life.

He was going to write an order for all the over-the-counter drugs that I sent over and I am going to make an appointment for her to go to his office in person next month.   

Another thing I learned- you can take your loved one out of Memory Care for doctor appointments- and since mom doesn’t need to see a doctor- I never knew this.  But now, I’m going to find a doctor to take her to once or twice a month.  This is so crazy to me- what we can and cannot due during this pandemic.  I wonder how many more rules I am missing.   I will be sure to ask the director the next time I talk to her.

So, all is well- or as well as it can be.   We will see what tomorrow brings.

Doctor My Eyes-  Jackson Brown

Love & Light!

Cheryl Doreen

Same sadness daily….

I called to check on mom and she was having a bad day.   I spoke to the nurse first and she let me now that mom was doing great- but she was having a tough morning.  Dorothy was talking for the last few minutes about her sister.  She was crying and upset with Deloris (her sister) and she was not in a good place.    The nurse put mom on the phone and left the room.   Mom started to cry harder, I couldn’t understand what she was saying.  I hate it!  I got her calmed down enough to where I could understand her.  She told me how mean Delores was to her and how she couldn’t understand why she was so mean.  She was worried that Delores would come back and pick on her again.   I assured her that Delores was not going to be coming back that I had personally asked her to leave you alone and you will not have to worry about her anymore.  She cried harder and asked me if I was sure she would not be coming back. It makes me wonder what – if anything Delores did to her when they were growing up.    I finally got her settled down again.  She called for the nurse- on her own- and handed the phone back to her.  The nurse assured me mom would be okay in a few minutes when she found her friend Martin.  He is a retired police officer- and she are best buds- so, I am told. Which I believe because when Paul and I moved her she did not leave his side.   They make each other laugh and they are doing everything together.  I’m so happy she has a friend, I can’t’ imagine going through life without one.    I recall my dad telling me you were a lucky person if you could count five friends- I never knew what he was talking about until I was older.   We all have acquaintances- but- how many true friends- the ones that are there for everything- do we really have?    

She is fine and she has her moments- I’m glad they do not last long, and she is not in a state of sadness all day long. I’m glad the nurse is there for her when no one else can be. 

You Got A Friend- James Taylor

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Happy

It’s still a lock down in the Memory Care Unit and It’s still a lockdown all over the world.  It’s also the middle of February and it’s too cold for Dorothy to come outside to visit.   It is a tough situation I still find myself in- along with half a million other folks who cannot see or hug their loved one.   I know there is nothing I can do and for me that is tough- I’m a fixer- I’m a doer.  This sitting by waiting the pandemic out is tough.

I do talk to the facility about mom and she is fine and happy. And knowing that -I can be at peace ( sort of LOL).  Dorothy is good, she is safe, and she is happy.  There are a ton of folks out there that can’t even say that.

So, find some happiness to help you get through the rest of this winter and the rest of this pandemic.

Turn on “Happy” Pharrell Williams- and don’t forget to get up and dance!  

Be safe!

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen